While the Social Security card itself is not as important as simply remembering your Social Security number, there are instances in which having the card on hand is not only helpful but necessary.
You may replace your Social Security card up to three times in one year and up to ten times in your lifetime. Exceptions to this rule include for a legal name change, citizenship status change or if you need to get the card to prevent significant personal hardship.
Gather Identity Documents
To get a new Social Security card, you will need to prove that you are who you say you are. Acceptable identity documents include originals or certified copies of:
- U.S. Passport
- Driver’s license
- State I.D. card
If these are unavailable, other acceptable identity documents include:
- Health insurance or Medicaid card
- U.S. military I.D.
- U.S. Government I.D.
- Certificate of naturalization
- Certificate of citizenship
- Certified medical or academic records
- Life insurance policy
Prove Your U.S. Citizenship Or Authorization Status
Only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants may receive a Social Security card. In order to replace your lost Social Security card, you need to prove your legal status. Common citizenship documents used include originals or certified copies of:
- U.S. passport
- U.S. birth certificate
- U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
If you are not a citizen, you need to show that you are permitted to live and work in the United States to replace your Social Security card. Required documents include one of the following:
- Green card
- Employment authorization card
- Work permit from DHS
Fill Out And Deliver The Application
Gathering the identity documents will be the most difficult part of this process. Once you’ve done so, you will need to fill out a standard form, Form SS-5, with your name, Social Security number, other identifying information, parents’ names and parents’ Social Security numbers.
Once you’ve filled out Form SS-5, you may either mail it with your certified copies or take it and your original documents to the Social Security office near you. The replacement card will generally arrive within 2-4 weeks, which is a standard amount of time for government agencies. It will have the same name and number as your original card.